Graduates of GCC ready to rebound

June 7, 2010

Members of Greenfield Community College’s class of 2010 received their education during difficult times, but each one now has the opportunity to make things better, according to college president Robert L. Pura.

Nursing majors (left to right) Candy Girard of Turners Falls, Katrina Moore of Greenfield and Karen Asseng of Deerfield celebrate at the Greenfield Community College graduation Sunday.

They stayed focused on the things that they could control, Pura said. “More importantly, you learned how to learn.”

Greenfield Community College graduated a class of 311 Sunday in ceremonies under a large tent on the college’s athletic fields. The college awards associate’s degrees as well as certificates in such career disciplines as paramedic, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and outdoor leadership.

“For many of you, Greenfield Community College was your first visit to a college campus,” Pura said. “For many of you, you are now the first in your family to graduate from college.”

While many Greenfield Community College students arrive right out of high school, many others come to the college later in life, often as a result of having lost their jobs, he said.

Donald W. Sadler, 57, of Whatley, said he returned to school after realizing that the transportation company he’d started and run for many years was unlikely to survive the recession. He had also served in the Army and was glad he could bring his life experiences into the Greenfield Community College classroom.

“It gave me the perspective I don’t think I’d have had if I would have gone to college right away,” Sadler said.

Ann Prendergast of Conesus, NY and her daughter Meg Burch of Conway, a nursing graduate

He received associate’s degrees in liberal arts and criminal justice Sunday, and he’s been accepted at Western New England College in the fall to complete a bachelor’s degree. He hopes to go on to law school.

Nursing graduate Jillian M. Sicard, 22, of Montague, said she has a job starting in July at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in its medical/surgery unit. But first she has to pass her state nursing board exams June 17. Prep classes start today.

“I just want to start working,” Sicard said.

By Jim Kinney – Springfield Republican